For students with special needs there may be a need to formalize daily or weekly communication through the use of a Home/School communication book or email. The method of communication needs to be jointly determined between the classroom teacher and the home. The following section provides examples of this type of communication.
What is a Home-School Communication Book?
The home-school communication book is developed to facilitate two-way adult and student sharing of important information about the student’s day.
The communication book can:
- support the student’s communication at home and at school; (This may include information about daily activities, special or fun events, playmate or peer interactions, and any highlights of the day.)
- facilitate the transfer of information from home to school (e.g. student didn’t sleep well, didn’t eat breakfast; missed medication, had a seizure);
- facilitate the transfer of information from school to home (e.g. special events, field trips, “hot lunch” days, successes and challenges);
- provide homework information.
NOTE: If the home-school communication book is used to provide documentation about specific programming for behaviours, personal or confidential matters, it needs to be for adult eyes only. The procedure for transferring the book between home and school needs to be carefully thought out to ensure confidentiality.
Three kinds of home-school communication books:
1. A memory book for the child.
- The intent of this book is to facilitate communication for the child between home and school. This two-way communication allows the child to share information about the school day with his or her caregivers and siblings, and it can prompt the child to share information about home and community activities with peers or staff at school. Who writes in the memory book? The student completes the book, independently or with support, depending upon demonstrated ability. The format is chosen to suit the child (e.g., print, voice recording, picture symbols, etc.).
2. A homework book.
- This book is for staff, parents and students to share information about school assignments and homework completion.
Who writes in the homework book?
Typically, this is the student day planner which all students use. Often the student completes it and the teacher and parents sign it. For some students with written output difficulties, it may be completed with a peer, it may be a student-specific form or it may be an audio book.
A book to record concerns and successes .
- This book is for adults to share information about pre-determined and specific issues. This type of book is jointly developed and requires careful consideration to ensure that:
- everyone is in agreement about the purpose and content of the information to be shared;
- the information is clear and concise so parents don’t find it onerous to read and staff members don’t spend valuable teaching time documenting extensive information;
- student confidentiality is safeguarded, particularly if the information shared is of a personal or medical nature.
Who writes in this type of book?
Adult caregivers (e.g., parent/guardian, school staff, daycare providers) record the important information to share.
NOTE: For all communication books, BCTF and CUPE have jointly determined that it is the classroom teacher who is responsible for reporting to parents both informally and formally. The Educational Assistant may write in the home-school communication book only if the book is monitored and signed or initialled daily by the classroom teacher.